Monday, August 30, 2010

A Weekend in Shenandoah National Park

When you find yourself in the area, this is definitely worth a day or two of your time. Don’t know if you will want to stay in the park or out of the park. Lodgings are cheaper outside the park, but then you have quite a drive to get to any of the sites you want to see. And there are lots.

Check out the National Park Service website at:

The park stretches for 105 miles from near the town of Front Royal in the northeast to near the city of Waynesboro in the southwest and is well known for the visual treats of Skyline Drive. Also, a well known part of the park is over one hundred miles of the Appalachian Trail.

Here you’ll find lots of mushrooms, camping, wildlife great dining and all the solitude you want…if you want it.

We stayed at the Skyland Resort, and to be honest, I have mixed feelings about this place. The setting is spectacular though and if you want to be in the park and in the mountains…there is just no other place to be.

Unfortunately, this once fabulous resort has seen better days.

There are no phones in the rooms, not even just to call the front desk, which is a little bit of a hike from your lodging. Also, be warned that most cell service is pretty bad in the mountains. I have T-mobile and didn’t get any reception at all, but I saw other folks with other servers not getting any better reception.

The light between the beds was flashing on and off, suggesting a short in the electrical wiring, and the old heaters worked, but made such strange popping noises that we were afraid to leave them on. The electrical outlet near the coffee pot was loose and seemed it might pull out of the wall.

Let me say this though, when I told the front office of my concerns about the room, they were very helpful and promptly gave me a discount.

Back to cell phones, remember when hiking in the park that if you get in over your head on a hike, you won’t be able to call anyone. Most of the trails get a fair amount of traffic, so someone would find you and get help for you, but don’t count on your phone when you are in the wilderness.

There are lots of great things to see. I saw deer, skunk, wild turkey, trees and vistas that are worth the drive all by themselves.

And now to the food at the Skyland Lodge restaurant:
Smogged out views...too bad, but still beautiful.

This menu is worth the drive alone. You will not believe the quality of the food at what I call reasonable prices. We are not talking about your basic meat and veggies. I am talking about a cook that knows that the word is sauté, not slaughter, who understands the delicate blend of herbs that make life worth living. The best meat, fish and fowl dishes prepared to perfection…yes perfection. How often have you found a real restaurant…not a pre-fab or a knock off of a franchise? This is the real deal.

Definitely worth the trip but be prepared to pay for it.

Take your dog, but don't forget the leash.